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Dead sperm whale found in Forth

The carcass of the dead sperm whale found near the Isle of May
The carcass of the dead sperm whale found near the Isle of May

A dead sperm whale has been found floating in the Firth of Forth nine days after one or more were spotted swimming further upriver.

The 40ft carcass was spied near the Isle of May.

A group from the island launched a boat and found the young whale about a mile out.

On July 5, up to three whales believed to be sperm whales were sighted off the coast of Kinghorn.

The massive species, which grow to over 50 ft long, are rarely seen so far up the Forth.

Observers reckoned that one of the whales was sick or injured, as another whale appeared to be supporting it.

David Steel, Isle of May reserve manager for Scottish Natural Heritage, said it was a “sad end for a giant of the sea”.

The dead mammal was seen on Thursday around two miles east of the May but due to heat, haze and distance could not be identified.

David said: “Much to our surprise the animal was rediscovered today closer to the island, approximately one mile out, and we decided to take a closer look.

“On arrival it was evident it was a young sperm whale, approximately 12 metres in length.

“The sheer size was brought home as it dwarfed the RIB (rigid inflatable boat) we were in.”

The cause of the animal’s death is unknown.

Staff and researchers on the island are to watch out for the body possibly beaching on the island’s shore.

A whale or whales were watched for around three hours off the coast of Kinghorn, near Inchkeith.

They were monitored from the shore by the British Divers Marine Line Rescue but moved back out to deeper waters later in the afternoon.

The organisation said if the whale was sick it would most likely strand.

On Sunday a sperm whale became stranded and died on a beach in Cornwall.

Specialist analysis is being conducted to determine whether it was sick or otherwise compromised.

Sperm whales have the largest brain of any creature known to have live on Earth.

Often seen in groups or pods, females and calves tend to stay in tropical zones throughout the year.

The male of the species is more likely to be seen alone and in higher latitudes.

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